During the week the “official” club squads for the Premier League were announced.
- Premier League squads are limited to 25 players
- No more than 17 non-home grown players may be named
- A home grown player is someone who has spent 3 years in England before turning 21
- Players born on or after January 1st 1997 do not need to be included
The naming of the squad not only shows what we have to use this season, but also how the squad is going to look in future seasons – and how our transfers may be impacted by squad size and non-home grown player slots.
Arsenal named 23 man Premier League squad with 15 non-home grown players.
It leaves us with two spaces for a non-home grown senior player, meaning that in January we can make two signings without either having to sell a player or unregister someone. We do not need to worry about where the signings come from.
The squad announcement highlights the importance of the likes of Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck as home grown squad players.
Were we to have sold both in the summer (as some wanted) we either would have had to use non-home grown player squad to replace them, or sign home grown players.
When you consider that Welbeck is in the England squad, there are not too many home grown strikers ahead of him. Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford.
Looking forward, you would expect Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny to be in the last year at the club. That will free up 2 non-home grown places next summer (4 in total if we don’t make a January signing).
Danny Welbeck is also almost certainly to leave which will give us 4 senior squad slots, with a 4/1 split on non-home grown / home grown.
Carl Jenkinson will also surely leave
That’ll leave us with 6 squad places free before other departures
4 non-home grown; 2 home grown.
At this point, I want to share the belief that Nacho Monreal and Stephan Lichtsteiner will sign further one year deals.
Whilst Arsenal will have the natural loss giving them 6 free slots, 2 of these will be filled by players currently under 21.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles becomes a senior player next year. As does Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Mavropanos will also take up a non-home grown player space.
The promotion of these two players reduces us to 4 slots.
3 non-home grown & 1 home grown.
The development of Matteo Guendouzi could be key in the short term.
Next season he is still U21, which means that he does not take up a squad place.
He has seemingly moved ahead of Mohamed Elneny this season and, if he continues his fine form and with the returning Maitland-Niles, Arsenal could sell Elneny to free up a non-home grown squad.
This would all depend on Aaron Ramsey signing a new contract. If he does sign, and Elneny leaves, it would still leave us with 5 central midfielders (Ramsey, Xhaka, Torreira, AMN, Guendouzi).
Keeping any eye on the run-rate, Elneny departing would give us 4 non-home grown player slots and 1 home grown player slot.
I have also just noticed Cohen Brammal was registered as a non-home grown player. He will also surely not be registered next year taking us up 5 available non-home grown slots.
With regards to replacing those who have been sold:
I do not expect us to sign someone to replace Petr Cech. Both Emiliano Martinez and Deyan Illiev have been named in this seasons squad. Both are home grown. It would be silly wasting one of the non-home grown slots on a second choice goalkeeper. We also have Matt Macey to return.
Laurent Koscielny will be replaced. We will buy a centre back next season. It is a priority position. We will scour the globe to get the best we can (leaving us 4/1 in squad slots).
Despite having 5 midfielders, I would expect us to replace Elneny. We will target a top central midfielder. Someone better than Granit Xhaka who will be competing straight away with the trio of Xhaka / Torreira / Ramsey for a starting place. AMN and Guendouzi will them back these up (3/1).
In terms of replacing Welbeck, I do not think we will go out and sign someone.
He is currently 3rd choice striker and an option on the wing. His two roles in the squad will be covered by Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson – neither of whom will require registering.
Another person to take into account is Calum Chambers – currently on loan at Fulham.
One of two things will happen next season:
- Chambers will be sold
- Chambers will return and Holding sold
With a new centre back it would give us the options of Sokratis, new CB, Mustafi, Holding/Chambers & Mavropanos. You do not need more than 5 centre backs in your squad.
So that will leave us with 2 slots available; one home grown, the other non-home grown.
If we want to buy in more, we will have to sell. Bellerin, Mustafi, Xhaka, Litchsteiner, Monreal or Kolasinac could all depart on the basis that the player coming in would be a direct replacement.
All in all, Arsenal are in a comfortable place with regards to the balance of their squad. We now just need to continue improving the quality.
Final though on this.
Despite their fans continually boasting about their brilliant home grown squad filled with young talent, Tottenham have the maximum (17) non-home grown players AND haven’t registered Vincent Jansen
They need to sell players before they can buy from abroad.
The other top 6 clubs are in a worse position than Arsenal. All having 1 free slot for a non-home grown player; although they all have 3 or 4 players who will naturally leave in 12 months.